Homecoming is lurching its way to Eastern New Mexico University.
This year has a zombie theme: “It’s a Thriller.”
The homecoming schedule includes the long-standing traditions of the football game, bonfire, parade and tailgate party. The mix also includes new events such as the “Zombie Circus Extravaganza” play and the official re-opening of the music building.
Brittany Chrisman of Student Life said the bonfire would be open to the public and feature a car bash, crowning of the homecoming king and queen, giveaways, band and spirit team performances and more.
“It’s just a like a big pep rally,” she said.
This year, Chrisman said, the fireworks show will last longer and the “Up All Night” fundraiser for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital will be introduced.
Chrisman is organizing the bonfire for the second year and said she loves the event.
“I like that it’s so many people from the community and from the school,” she said, adding that children and alumni are among participants.
Melissa Sena, chair of the homecoming parade, said she expected around 60 entries from the university and the community for Saturday’s parade. The parade is planned to start at Third and Abilene streets and travel down First Street to the campus.
Before Saturday’s football game against Texas A&M-Commerce, Student Life is hosting a tailgate party open to the public. Chrisman said they would offer free hamburgers and hot dogs, face painting and goodies.
“A lot of people stop by, but about 500 eat,” she said.
Also, this year ENMU has an original play just for homecoming. “Zombie Circus Extravaganza” shows nightly Wednesday through Sunday and tells the story of a zombie circus that moves to Portales from Commerce, Texas.
“It is a totally original script, and it is customized for homecoming,” said co-creator Bryan Hahn, resource dance faculty. “We actually take some friendly jabs at the competition.”
Hahn created the play with Professor of Theatre Janeice Scarbrough and Department Secretary for Psychology Joseph Sanders. He said it features 23 student performers from a wide variety of majors, as well as three films created on campus.
“It’s an evening of fun and over-the-top humor,” Hahn said. “There’s some high-brow humor for adults who come and lots of movement and dance and lots of color for youth … Every step of the way, there’s a laugh.”
Hahn said the play has no blood or gore, but puts a new spin on the zombie concept.